Friday, November 28, 2008

Pie Thief!

My parents and I were going to Thanksgiving dinner at a local delicious food restaurant. Great prospect, they always have good vegetarian options. This year was no different. The Tofu Forrestriere was amazing. I'm getting used to going out for special meals. After a life of cooking, my mom is in semi-retirement.
That doesn't keep me from wanting to cook though. I enjoy cooking for special occasions, so I decided to make a pie for after the dinner. I found a recipe for a fruit pie with cranberries, oranges, and apples. I made a crumb topping for it, and baked it on Wednesday night. It was pretty tangy when I tested some of the bubble ups, but it was also pretty yummy. Vanilla ice cream would be the perfect complement for it. I also had a lot of bits left over, so I stewed apple, cranberry, and mandarin oranges with sugar and butter in the crock pot, figuring it'd make some tasty ice cream topping.
After dinner, we stopped by one of the nicer gas stations to pick up some ice cream. I was excited, we were going to put the pie in the oven to warm while we watched a movie. When I unlocked the door, that all came to an end...what was left of the pie sat on the floor, 2/3 eaten. I called Wes into the kitchen, and he slunk in, head down. I admonished him, cleaned up, and then forgave him.
Honestly, I can't blame him. It did smell pretty damn good. I just need to remember to sit the pie on the back of the stove when I leave the house next time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Open Letter to President Elect Obama

President-elect Obama,

Congratulations on your election.
They asked what a community organizer does. You answered the question, not with words, but with action. You organized the best campaign I've seen in my lifetime.

They talked about leadership, they talked about experience. What they didn't understand is that the mobilization, the inspiration that you carried are some of the most powerful forms of leadership there are.

So now, I ask you, I beg you...keep it up. Inspire us. Use us. We don't always see what needs being done. Sometimes we're too caught up in trivialities, true, but sometimes life gets in the way, and we're so used to being asked to continue shopping that we don't think, "What can I do to help?"

You had so many of us asking what we can do to help you get elected. I promise you, we are the same people who will help you to make our country more like its promises.

Mr. President, what can we do to help?

Thank you so very much,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Figure Drawing Class...


...has reinvigorated my creative life.

The work that I've been doing in class has varied from week to week. Sometimes I'll do a drawing that I love, sometimes, it's crap, but I always have a good time, and I've come up with a lot of work I love. In addition, it's nice to be occupying my time in ways that don't involve television or sitting at home.

For the most part, I'm focusing on drawing realistically. I'm trying to depict the model as accurately as possible. After that's done with, I find that I can do a better job of cartooning the same pose.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So, the malaise?

Turns out I was REALLY, REALLY sick.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

An odd feeling...

The art show went well on Friday, with lots of great people coming out to see me, and lots of nice compliments for me and Nancy's work. Yesterday's bike ride was a lot of fun, but for some reason, I was BEAT after the ride yesterday. I don't know why. I'd eaten well, and for once I actually got enough sleep the night before. I'm guessing it's the show on Friday? Anyway, it's led to me being all blah on Sunday for the second Sunday in a row. I have plans of getting things done, but even so, it spooks me...I don't want to make a habit of NOT riding on Sundays.

Why am I suddenly needing more sleep than before. Am I pregnant? I shouldn't be. I don't have a womb - I'm pretty sure my plumbing isn't made for that.

Anyway, now that they've actually debuted in the real world, I'm happy to put up the paintings from before, uncovered.

Now that they're out in the real world...my new paintings.

Mei Is Straining For a Color





Moira Is Drawn Into the Investigation





"Margot Is Not My Real Name"


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Virgins, Black Kids...

Not a social commentary!

Friday night met with local heroes, Black Kids, and their openers The Virgins. The Sun Bears also played, but I wasn't as excited by their set. Clearly, they have some creative juices, but it wasn't my thing.

The Virgins
, whose full frontal t-shirt was something I could never wear anywhere, were all 1978, feeling like Blondie sans Debbie Harry, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, and Jim Carroll. They had great energy, super self-aware hipness, and a front-man who looked cool only because he would have looked geeky anywhere other than on stage. Suddenly, perched above hundreds of young adults, sweating profusely, he wasn't geeky, so much as a fledgling rock idol, twitching perfectly through his vocals. The band was tight, the set was fun. I would absolutely have paid to see this band as the headliner. I love it when that happens.

As the stage was being set up for Black Kids, the sound guy (?, roadie? I dunno) explained in no uncertain terms that the show would end if someone set their drink cup on his stage, and that everyone would know that you were responsible for ending the show. He was very entertaining, if a bit repetitive. As the Kids took the stage, the energy level of Freebird (the club) shot up. They flew into their first song, Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo), the vocals a bit drowned out, but it didn't matter. The band threw themselves into their songs, creating perma-grins on the faces of the people in the audience. The set was shortish, the band is on their first album, with a cover of the Magnetic Fields' Strange Powers (original here) in the middle, and
I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You finishing it up. They returned to the stage for two more songs, ending the night with Hurricane Jane. The band's banter was charming, with Reggie Youngblood doing most of the talking, calling out to Duval County, and saying how good it was to be back home.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Too many words...

Gentle Reader,

So here are some pictures. I blacked out MOST of each picture, but these are 3 paintings from my next show.
It's funny, I really like the letterboxing...I almost wouldn't mind if this was the whole painting!




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Urge to Make and Grow

I'm being re-struck by the urge to make things and to grow. I'm not always sure what to make, or in what ways I need to be growing, but the urge is there.

I have some thoughts on this, though. Clearly, I would like to spend time working on more painting. Even though I'm not always pushing myself to paint and draw, when I do complete a set of work, I feel so incredibly satisfied. I'm thinking of designing some posters to put on phone poles in town, I'm thinking of green graffiti. I'm really just not sure where I want to funnel this desire. One thought is that maybe I should just schedule time out, and refuse to do anything but create. I'm not sure I'm that type of person, though.
As far as growth, I'm seeing the urge manifest itself in three directions.
At work, I'm constantly thinking of things I can do to make the experience more about the students' desires, and less about mine. I'm aiming at creating projects that come from THEIR hearts. They always seem to enjoy MY projects, but it might be nice to be a conduit to their dreams, huh?
I'm also feeling like I'd like to be the type of person who actually takes care of the things around himself. What's it been, 3 weeks? Maybe it's time to clean up the branches from Tropical Storm Fay! Also: I have TOO MANY things. Ideally, it'd be nice to sell everything off, but these are things that I'm not sure would make much money. Is it time for a neighborhood sidewalk sale? Or do I want to start leaving gifts for the neighborhood outside, Freecycle style?
Lastly, I've been talking for a couple of years about taking a yoga class. It's just 88 bux for the beginner's class at the local place...I'm going after work to sign up.



I'm a person with ideas, and I don't always rock on the follow through, but these are things that are really pulling at my heart right now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I want to post,

but at the moment, I don't have anything that I want to say to the world.

So....here is a mighty old picture that I drew. I like it. And then: you could check out one of my new favorite podcasts: You Look Nice Today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mission, refined:

I spend entirely too much time thinking about my place in the world. Is this annoying navel gazing? I don't know, but occasionally, I try to devine my philosophy or mission in life from things I believe.

I must be clear on this, my mission does not exclude the fact that, like most humans, I can be a raging hypocrite. I'm a vegetarian, I barely eat dairy, and yet I still buy leather shoes and belts. Terrrrrible. Nonetheless, never being perfect doesn't preclude you from trying. I know that I take stands against moralism. This is only because loudly declaring moralism seems to be a sign of majorly screwing up. Hoisted by one's own petard!

I was going to give examples to people in the news who make my point very well, but I don't want to sully this post with their names. Even so, you can find examples here, here, here, here, here, and most recently, here. Okay, that last one was more of an example of why something doesn't work. but oh well.

So, after really thinking about it for ten minutes or so, I have decided that I have a mission in life. It's bolstered by Joey Ramone, who, dying of cancer, covered "What a Wonderful World" on his album Don't Worry About Me. And it is:

This world is ugly, mean, and hurtful. It is a dangerous and deceitful place. We are all complicit in awful things, and we don't always have control over our participation in them. There are many things that we are powerless to solve, that, given too much attention, will break our hearts. So what to do?

I believe that, every day, one must strive to increase the amount of love, beauty, and laughter in this world.

Now, I must be clear here. When I say love, I mean all kinds. From kind words up to the love of a parent or spouse, it's all good. When I say beauty, it's up to you...is it creating art? Harmony? Peace? All are beautiful. But spread it, baby. Spread the beauty. And laughter...that's the tricky one. I think it's key, lest the laughter negate the love, that it's positive laughter. I mean, sure, there are times that we laugh at people, that's not the kind I'm looking at being helpful.

I don't know, now that I've put it in writing, I may fall down on my mission. But then again, I can always get back up.



Un peu tardie...

I had intended to have frames painted by last Monday. I did get a start, but was cowed by mosquitoes. La di da. So here I am, September 7, and I've only just now gotten paint on every frame. I've got six new pieces. They aren't quite ready for the world, but they're almost there. And placement update: because Nancy doesn't have as many paintings as she would like, Simple G is gonna have a dual show next month. Hooray! Here's to a sellout October: May the monster paintings sell, and may all the pretty girls sell. It would be a wonderful addition to the fall.

In other news: Our country annoys me sometimes. How does McCain even still have a foot in this game? Horrifying.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Before it's over:

Before this weekend is done...I will have my frames painted. I will buy spray paint, I will put on deep woods off, and brave my back yard to paint them.

And then, I'll figure out how best to mount the paintings in the frames.

And thennn, I'll post pictures of the new work here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm voting for the candidate

that I find inspiring.

Also, he wants to cut my taxes. I know that campaign promises aren't worth trusting, but nonetheless, this page intrigues me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's post number 40!

Hooray!

Everyone said, "No way, dork...you won't make it."

Oh yeah? Well, hah. And double hah.

In honor of today's 40th post, which is pretty lame, considering how long I've been doing this blog, I submit to you: 40 words that make me smile.

Now let me be clear: There is no criteria for this other than the aforementioned. They don't have to be meaningful, or funny, or related in any way. Fact is, I may even have a hard time coming up with 40 words. I promise you this: If I do, I will randomly put down words that don't necessarily make me smile. That's right, I'll lie to you about words, just to achieve my admittedly random goal. I will try to make all of the words words I like.

1. Pants
2. Light
3. Hat
4. Cheese
5. Monkey
6. Toaster
7. Radio
8. Potato
9. Chicken
10. Uncle
11. Sizzle
12. Gouda
13. Anton
14. Cellulite
15. Grandpa
16. Nasal
17. Tingle
18. Shudder
19. Foreshortened
20. Antenna (especially when pronounced An-tan-nah)
HALFWAY THERE!
21. Wobble
22. Guzzle
23. Unctuous
24. Mellifluous
25. Constipated
26. Anxiety
27. Toenail
28. Murphy (especially pronounced with a strong Irish accent: Mour-fee)
29. Hamburger (the word, not the thing)
30. Rampant
31. Fleshy
32. Change
33. Idaho
34. Forehead
35. Grater
36. Zesty (it sounds like such a marketing word)
37. Jiggle
38. Tug
39. Jittery
40. Drowsy

Yay, I did it, and as far as I can tell, I like these words!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ugh....

Here's some negativity. I know I'm usually captain happy. I'm sick of this tropical storm. Fay hasn't made it terribly frightening, just inconvenient here in St. Auggie. It's always wet out, windy, and it makes me want to NOT go anywhere. Sigh. I'm leaving. Stepping out over all the broken tree bits carpeting the ground. I want some High Fructose Corn Syrup. I know...that's why I left yesterday. I never told you, I saw an explosion at the top of a phone pole. It sounded like a gun shot. Boy, did I jump.

So, I'll bring my camera with me. If there's anything of note out there, I'll share it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Out into the squall...

I know there's wind and heavy rain right now...but I want a soda.

And some candy.


It's time for some NOM NOM NOM.

Now is the time...




















For what?

I don't rightly know.

Angry kittens? Maybe. If so, they'll have your ankles in shreds before you can begin to cope! Those angry kittens, oh, the trouble they cause. I think that we can all close our eyes, squeeze our fists tightly, and hope that the time for angry kittens is not now.

What then? That's my dilemma. I'm not certain if the not knowing hurting my head comes from. Could it be a function of actually knowing but not doing? Or is it more likely that I DO know, but it's the time for so many things that overwhelm has set in?

Here it is, lovely people, I have it:
Now is the time for assessment. It is time to set down all of the things politely drawing attention, and say, "Alright, which of you brings me the most emotional fulfillment?"

No is the time to interview the pieces of my life that I would like to spend more time with. Obsessions, I'm ready to develop a relationship with you!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Magic Is Inside of You (and Me)






Maybe this is a challenge, ma
ybe this is a manifesto, maybe this is just my new worldview. I don't know. Here's the thing. In speaking of magic, I'm not speaking of mysticism or spirituality. Well not in the traditional sense. There are no faeries here, or magical spells.

Magic in real life:
Tell people that you will accomplish things because you're magic. Not magical, just magic. This will be scoffed at by most people. Good. Use this at times when you have, or want confidence. When you're doubted, say, "Oh, didn't you know? I'm magic." No explanations. Then do it. Complete your goal....make it happen. When you've succeeded, and you should, after all, you're magic, tell your friends. They'll be impressed. Say, "I told you I'm magic." This magic is confidence, self belief, and directing your brain. And then...you're magic. That's it. Yay!


Let's hear it for us, magic beings all!



Sunday, July 13, 2008

Five things worth being happy about....

I don't write enough. Je suis lazeeeee. Mais, I will tell you five things that make me happy at the moment.

Anyway, five things that are making me happy:

1. Understanding friends...We all fell like total weirdo freaks once in a while, right? Well, I know that I do. It's very nice to have friends who listen without (or at least apparently without) judgment. (Hm...I thought judgment had an e after the g. Thank you spellchecker!) It's awfully good to have people around who show acceptance when you feel like you're the odd one in the room.

2. Great music...I had been on such a podcast kick, and then, suddenly, it's all about music for me. The Ting Tings, Carbon/Silicon, Santogold, Sons and Daughters, She Wants Revenge, The Kills...They are making life listenable again!

3. I am a creative soul, and that makes me feel sooooo good. I've had the opportunity to share my artwork with a new audience lately, and the response has been so nice. I can't wait for Tuesday's figure drawing.

4. Reconnecting with old friends. There's nothing like the smile of someone you haven't seen in a while.

5. Sharing food and games with a good group of people. Thank you devil, for inviting me tonight. I'm really looking forward to it!

I am so sappy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Secret News

Okay. I know I'm two weeks late on this, and postings of just a paste are lame, but oh well. Hopefully, if you're reading this, you're the kind of person who forgives a person like me for being lame sometimes.

When George Carlin died last month, Terry Gross played old interviews with him on Fresh Air. The end of the interview was a reading of The Secret News from his book, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? Without permission, here it is. I love it:

The Secret News
Good Evening ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the secret news.
Sshh.
Here’s the secret news:
All people are afraid.
No one knows what they’re doing.
Everything is getting worse.
Some people deserve to die.
Your money is worthless.
No one is properly dressed.
At least one of your children will disappoint you.
The system is rigged.
Your house will never be completely clean.
All teachers are incompetent.
There are people who really dislike you.
Nothing is as good as it seems.
Things don’t last.
No one is paying attention.
The country is dying.
God doesn’t care.
Sshh

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 'Splosions Day!

Yay!

It's the Fourth of July! I get to celebrate the freedom I get to complain about my country. That is a wonderful thing. So far, I haven't been imprisoned for being disgruntled or disappointed. And for this, I am gruntled and appointed.

Yay for fireworks! Enviro-fun! No pollutants or extra CO2 from that! And to add to the fun, let's all idle our cars to get into town, and then back out...In the time it took me to ride my bike a mile and a half, most cars moved three car lengths! Lest I devolve into self-superiority, I suck....I'm going to bed early so I can drive my car 30 miles to go on a 38 mile bike ride, before driving 30 mile back! Enviro-fun all 'round!

Yay for fireworks! What do they celebrate? Victory at sea! Military strength! We're number 1!
#1 in Cocaine Use! #1 in Subsitance Living! #1 in Personal Debt! #1 in Health Care Costs! Am I whining? Sure....

This isn't all to say that I hate America. I've had wonderful opportunities here! It's a much easier world when you're born in America. It's also easier to be born straight, white, and middle class. I don't think that's really fair, though.

America is a nice place to live if you have your ducks in a row. There are some pretty screwy people here, and that's entertaining. I'm just saying...we've got enough wrong, could we celebrate the good things while still recognizing the bad ones?

I know, I'm usually Captain Positive...Let's focus on the good..aim for what's right...look for the light, Carol Ann. I know that if you look at the hazard in the road, you're more likely to hit it. True, so back to my Pollyanna outlook after all this. But for now, when we're all chest pounding and we're number oneing, I would like to say: "Pound your chest when all of your ducks are in their rows." Better, when you get to that point, don't be the ass pounding his chest, be the mensch helping others learn about duck placement.

Pride sucks your soul out. Be happy about the good things, fix the bad ones.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Old music

It's funny...I usually get irritated by radio music. I know, the regular snobby rant, All of the stuff I like never gets played on the radio. I'm so different and superior.
Yeah yeah yeah.

But it's true....I do feel that way. Most big hits that are any good get overplayed, and everything
else just seems lame.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I agree, bu so what. Put you headphones back on and listen to your Zune, dork.

Sure, sure, but what I've realized is that my brain seems to long for the R&B pop songs of my teen years. The stuff I HATED at the time. What's up with that? Whenever one comes on, it's all, "Holy crap! It's this song!" It's not the same as me liking Too Shy by Kajagoogoo even though it's cheesy. I understand that pehnomena - nostalgia. But how come I'm feeling nostalgia for something I never liked before?

Wow

That last post, so happy, huh? Shows what happens when you stick me at home for the weekend with little to do, sick, and no biking riding. New television is here, now if there were only THINGS WORTH WATCHING on it! Ha. At least watching movies will be prettier. No exciting, witty, or wry observations about life today. Just wishing that I didn't wake up every day with 45 minutes of coughing to clear my breathing....need to kick this.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Through omission
And
Smart remarks
I
Hurt people
Without
Even Trying

When I
Realize
I've done
These
Things, I
Spend
The Rest
of
the Day
Dying.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life

comes with some surprising turns. No explanation, sorry. Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I know we need it...

That's what everyone says. Oh, we really need this rain. Well, poop. Wouldn't it be nice, wouldn't it be wonderful, if we DID get the rain, but just overnight? Like in Camelot? I mean sure. Plants need to grow. Water tables need to be replenished. Fires need to be averted. But still, how is one to plan for the afternoon if we're back on the old schedule...sometime in the late afternoon or early evening, it's a big thunderstorm.

I'm not completely ungrateful. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, I know that thunderstorm are fun to watch, and it does cool down tremendously after the afternoon storm. That being the case, it makes it awfully hard to plan on riding my bike to any sort of place in the afternoon or evening.

Poop, I say, poop.

AND NOW: Puzzle of the week:

(fill in the blank, baby)

d _ g (one of my students came up with this as a joke)

Here's a hint:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What is life like...

for a character like me these days?

School, well not school, but fun-camp is pretty good. I'm making movies with kids this week, and after that, it's making the ridiculous toy robots out of electronics junk. Now I just need to find a source for electronics junk!

My apartment is an absolute mess. Dog hair needs taking up. I've got enough here that I could seriously have a go at felting! Also, recycling, straightening, and a system for handling my great volume of mail should be approached. Time is spent instead on other pursuits.

Chief among these is bicycling, which I'm still enjoying immensely. Nothing compares. It's rare that I'm happier than I am on a bike.

I also seem to spend too much time online. Let's leave it at that. If you're reading this, you probably do, too.

I've started watching Weeds s.1, and I like it tremendously. The gossip and the pettiness astound me! I'm also rewatching LOST from the beginning. I'm hoping to armchair quarterback the show.

I'm heading to the free figure drawing sessions at a local gallery. I had been thinking of it already, and ran into T. on her way. She said it was the best thing going on in her life right now. I want in. Then I'd have two best things in my life. It sounds fun to get back into drawing more.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Things I'm Liking

1. The End of School
It's funny. I'm not thrilled to be done with the year, and with school summer mini camps, I'll still be here for the first six weeks of summer, but I am happy overall. And here's why: My students are so done. The good ones are being good, it's true, but the crazy ones, can I just send them home early? Just skip the last three days, kids. You there's nothing academic left, and your behavior is totally lacking, so just stay home. And then we'll party on Monday, and clean on Tuesday, and chill on Wednesday. The only downside to the end is doing all of the year-end paperwork BS. Blah.

2. honeyhoney
I've only got their 5 song ep, 'loose boots.' but I love it. Little Toy Gun is a great song with some very cool guitar, and the explicitly lyric-ed Thursday Night is my song of the moment. It is consistently stuck in my head.
3. I feel like dancing and meeting people. It's funny, I've become such a homebody. Perhaps I've got the itch. Is this related to my love for the song Thursday Night? Maybe so.

4. Feeling better on the bike.
I was so miserable on the 2nd day of the Tour de Cure, and sure, we could blame the heat, but I think a lot of it has to do with the previous weekend's food poisoning. Ugh. Being so sick is really awful, and I'm glad it's over, but it really messed me up longer than I expected. Wednesday night, though, I felt great, and it makes me not feel sad when I look at my bike now.


5. Jelly Belly Sport Beans
This seems like such a dorky idea for sports food, but I have to say, the sport bean has a lot going for it on a long, hot bike ride. In hot weather, energy gels just seem nasty. The beans travel well, though, deliver the same energy and nutritional punch, and they make my mouth water. Way to go, sports beans!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ukulele!

It's been far too long, Internet peoples. How are you?

I have been shouldered lately by money and gift cards coming in faster than I could spend them.

The thing is, once I have some extravagant basics (definition: as far as the world is concerned, these things are extravagant, as far as Americans are concerned, they're pretty basic things of life),there's not a whole lot I need. I like my bicycle. There's not a lot of reason to upgrade it. Sure, new wheels would be nice, but the ones I have now have never been out of true, and roll pretty damned well. I've got a laptop that does everything I want it to. I'm sure I could be happy with a prettier television (and hockey would be watchable without sitting 32 inches away), but is it really necessary? I only watch bike races, playoff basketball and hockey, and Thursday night TV (30 Rock, LOST, the Office).

So I've got the cards, and I kind of want to do something fun. And I'm listening to Jesse Thorn's interview with Nellie McKay, and for the second time, I hear her play Mother of Pearl on ukelele, doing all her own accompaniment. Frankly, I like it better than the album cut. And now I want a ukulele. That's next. Hooray!

And now, the 1-woman version of the song:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Google Suggest

Google Suggest is alarmingly accurate. Scary sometimes. Whenever I type in a question, it always surprises me how fast my question shoots to the top of the list. Makes you feel sort of commonplace, you know? Everyone else already asked, thanks. You're late to the party.

So I was thinking of downloading Google Earth, and started to type in "how often is google earth updated?" I got to "how of" when the top choice was my question. That's pretty neat.

Alright. So I'm not really very updatey these days. It just seems like I like the idea of blogging more than the actual activity. I find sitting and watching episodes of the Riches on hulu more compelling. Oh well. Maybe I'll get more informal and post dozens of times a day.


Monday, April 7, 2008

How much of a dork am I?

I just completed and hung 12 new tiles, and forgot to scan the artwork before taking them in to be shown. What an idiot. I'm going to have to head over there this week to take pictures. Curses.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pants aplenty!

A Google search for the phrase "pants aplenty" returned 49 hits. Here's to being number 50.

Five for Friday

Things I'm digging this week:

1. Geeky kids' books. It's standardized test season here in Florida, and the kids are stressed. Because of this, I'm reading chapters from two books a day instead of just one. I wanna keep their brains stimulated, but they need some down time.
I had been reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick already, but I still have to say how much I love this book. In it's estimable plot, one finds automata and historical sci-fi films. So much fun, and I get to use my French accent on the kids. Another great thing is the amount of illustrations. Selznick uses them to tell(rather than just enhance) the story. It's no wonder he won the Caldecott honor, but it is neat to see it given out to a novel, and not just a picture book. Once testing started, I picked up Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith. Mr. Smith is coming to our school this month, and it was the perfect time to start one of his books. So, I'm going from the automaton writing machine in Hugo to cryptozoology in Smith's book. It's like I'm reading to my 3rd graders straight from Boing Boing.
2. I am fitting into jeans that did not fit four months ago. Thanks to: my bike, sensible eating, Tuesday work-outs with my co-workers, and Thursday walk/runs after work!

3. Trees
My students and I went outside today to stare at the trees and write about them. I haven't looked at the photographs they've taken yet, but I have seen some tremendous artwork, and I've read some amazing poetry from them. Go trees!

4. Standardized testing
Officially, teachers hate the standardized tests, and technically, I'm no exception. It was tough work to get everyone to a place where they may all pass the test, and it was really hard to watch some of the kids struggle on things they normally wouldn't. That said, getting past the FCAT always gets us to a point where we can do some awesome and strange group learning activities.

5. hulu
I technically shouldn't be getting all excited over network TV on my internet, but I like hulu so far. I can watch 30 Rock and Arrested Development there. I can also watch the Addams Family (my favorite old school sitcom ever), and the Rockford Files. Jim Rockford is the coolest TV detective ever. And when I watch Rockford, I don't have to sit through insurance ads and commercials for the Hoveround.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

10 Things from my Desk

I was inspired by my friend Steve's assemblage piece about Dad's Desk Drawer to take a look inside my desk for tonight's post. Here are some of the things I found.



1. A Harry Truman campaign button. I was impressed with it's history, until I found the word 'Reproduction' on the back. I looked around, and found out that in 1972, old campaign buttons were being given out as promotional materials.



2. This is a long, thin strip of cardboard that I drew on in 2003. I was really into drawing derivatives of people. Trapezoidal heads, and very simple features were my thing. I really like this, and may use it as a bookmark.




3. Sketch I did for a painting. The painting is long sold, but I still have the originating artwork. That's halfway a lie, though. I stole the pose of these three girls from an Entertainment Weekly cover with Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys, and India.Aire.


4. Poppin' Fresh, and his wife, Poppie. I got them in the mail from Pillsbury when I was a kid. They're in pretty dirty shape now these days. They've been in the desk forever, but when I shook Poppie, she still had pepper inside.


5. Neat fold-out knife promoting GMC Parts T.O.P.S. program. I have no idea what that is, but I dig the knife.

6. When I lived in Michigan, I found this button on the ground. It must've been about 1999. That would make these girls 25-27 years old today. They were cheerleaders for the high school in Ferndale. This is kind of a strange thing to still have.


7. Guest book for my art show, Eindunzwanzig Frauen. It was a show of 13 paintings with 21 womens' faces in the paintings. The show was at Xhedos Cafe in Ferndale, MI in 2002. A quick search online tells me that Xhedos changed hands in 2006, and is now AJ's Music Cafe. I miss Xhedos. They had good sandwiches, good music, and they gave me my first art show.

8. A photo I came across somewhere (a flea market, maybe?) marked on the back, "Dad and mum," and, "31." She looks happier than he does to be sitting, fully dressed on a beach of stones somewhere.
9. My grandfather had very large belt buckles. I wore the eagle one once, but it was just too large.

10. A photo from my show at the 2'x2' Gallery. Many of the pieces are still available at Simple Gestures in St. Augustine.





Looking at these things makes me feel like Templeton, the rat, in Charlotte's Web. Well, kind of. I am a pack rat, but I'm not voiced by an aging, acerbic gay man.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wes's Toys in Blue, Part 2

Filthy Heptapus, missing two legs
Ravished Piggy
Horn-tipped Purpe Cow
Filthy Yellow-Green Puffer Fish
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Wes's Toys in Blue, Part 1


Frog
Blue Puffer Fish
Disemboweled Pull-String Ducky
Legless Sheep
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Early Valentine's Day


I made this for my students.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Ajay Naidu!



Okay, he may be known as the go-to Indian and/or Middle Eastern guy in a lot of movies and TV shows, but whenever Indian-American actor Ajay Naidu is in a movie he steals the scene. I have to admit, I'm not too familiar with his larger roles. Of course, I remember him best as Samir Nagheenanajar in Office Space, but other than that, I've mostly seen bit roles. Even so, he's a character actor - my favorite breed - one of the guys who shows up in a movie, and I say, "Oh, it's that guy! I like him!"

Happy 36th, Ajay Naidu!


Oh, and what's up Arsenio Hall? Happy 53rd Birthday!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Five for Friday 2-8-08


Thing 1:
Fatty's Magic Pants
In 1914, Fatty Arbuckle made the movie Fatty's Magic Pants. I learned this after Googling 'Magic Pants.' The funny thing is that I've always felt a connection with Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. No, it's not because I violated a woman with a wine bottle (which led to her death). Nope, never did that. Actually, all I thought we had in common was our birthday (Mar 24), but it turns out we both have the name 'Magic Pants' in our lives. What a neat coincidence.

Thing 2:
Magic Dinosaur:
This is my classroom's magic dinosaur. Put her (him? I have no experience in determining toy dinosaur gender) in water and she grows, take her out, and she shrinks over time. He (she?) came in an egg, and she (he?) busted out. I have one unspoken rule for this dinosaur, and it's that his (her?) name and assumed gender change every time she's (he's?) mentioned. One minute, the dinosaur's name is Steve, the next, it's Louella. If you look closely, you can see the abscess in her (his?) torso. I think there was a flaw in manufacturing, which grew with the Dinosaur.

Thing 3:
Shands Pier -
This is the view from Shands Pier on Wednesday afternoon. It was a gorgeous, but windy day, and I had been riding my bike for 14 miles when I stopped. I love resting at the pier during a ride. It's a great place to stop, have a drink, and enjoy the sound of the waves. And with an 83 degree day in February, that sounds alright with me.
Thing 4:
Mold Experiment -
My students and I are seeing which foods go moldy quickly. We want to try to figure out what mold and bacteria are after, and under what conditions they thrive. Although not a perfect cross-section of foods, this should be a fun (and filthy) investigation for the kids. You see pictured(L to R):

Row 1: apple, dill pickle stacker, jelly doughnut, chocolate chip cookie

Row 2: moist bread, dry bread, fried cake doughnut, mini marshmallows
Row 3: orange soda, sour gummi worms, gummi bears.


Thing 5:
Riding my bike -
I know this should be expected by now, but I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. Whether it's with a fast group, or a laid back ride with friends, riding feels so good. Solo riding offers a two step solution to problem solving. Not only does it give you time to think, but you also absolutely de-stress, allowing you the ability to think. Keep it up, bike riding!









Eat more blue foods.

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's...Five for Friday!

1. Positivity
For some reason, at this point in history, I am unable to write about living with a positive outlook without sounding like my words are coming out of Parade magazine or a Family Circle cartoon. So here's the rub: life is full of crap. Quit worrying about it and have fun. Be nice. Laugh. Make jokes for yourself, and be relentlessly happy even when it doesn't make sense. You will rub off on yourself, and life will seem better.

2. Friday Breakfast at work
I work at an elementary school. Right across the hall from my classroom door is a kitchen. It's there for the teachers and their classes in my part of the building. Each Friday, someone makes breakfast (there's a schedule). I usually put music on because it seems evil to cook and eat in front of the kids without sharing.
Anyway, it was my morning to make breakfast, and I cooked up some sweet potato/red skin potato hash browns(onions, peppers, and olive oil finished the main ingredient list out) for the folks. It turned out well, but it always makes me so happy. It's nice when we have a chance to hang out during the school week. The pressure's off us and the kids, and for a little while, everything is totally swell. It's a great way to start Friday. It was also a perfect 'make' for my Thing-a-Day2 entry for day 1.
















3. This Lady
The Smoking Gun has a weekly roundup of mug shots, and this lady was featured three times in a row! What is she doing to keep getting in trouble? She has nice teeth, so it's not meth. From seeing a lot of stripper busts on the site, I'm inclined to go that way, as she certainly is quite pretty, but I feel bad just making assumptions. Here's a thought, though: She's used to getting busted - she's flashing that dazzling smile in two of the photos. Mystery jailbird, I heart you.

















4. LOST
Okay, color me lame for getting all excited over a TV show, but I get excited over some of them. I admit it. 30 Rock and Arrested Development have actually caused me to fall out of a chair. Veronica Mars succeeded in making me watch a teen soap opera. Sure, it was a twisted, noir soap with snappy dialog, but it was soapy nonetheless. That said, LOST has me in a spin. There are times when I'm not sure if I think it's as awesome as it feels like, there are times when I think it's just silly, but I can't stop. I have a tendency to get swept up in things as I'm watching them, but this does have the lingering feeling that I love. I don't get that feeling with the movie you like as you're watching it, but as soon as it's over, you can't remember why. Keep it up, creators of LOST. If you can give 7 more episodes as good as the season premiere, this half season will rock. (Please, producers, just make nice with your writers.)










5. Instant Oatmeal
I bought the Fruit & Cream Variety Pack (Publix brand). Hooray for oatmeal. It makes a great happiness inside me every time.

















Ride your bikes, people.